Project: Research project

Grant Details


Gonorrhea is a major health problem world-wide. In the U.S. it is one of
the ten most often reported infectious diseases according to the Center for
Disease Control. The disease is caused by Neisseria gonorrheae, a
gram-negative diplococcus. A major virulence factor is the pilus, a
proteinaceous structure on the bacterial surface which allows the bacterium
to attach to epithelial cells of the host. It is composed of repeating
identical subunits of 18,000 daltons. To date nothing is known about the secondary, tertiary or quarternary
structure of the pilus. The mode of attachment of pili to host cells is
also not known. Antigenic variation of the pilus protein has hampered
efforts to design a pilus-based vaccine. By using a combination of protein
and DNA biochemistry and genetic approaches we will examine all these
aspects of the N. gonorrheae pilus. Our data on the structure and function
of the gonococcal pilus will shed light on other bacterial systems which
also produce fimbriate structures which have homology to the pilus and
which are thought to undergo antigenic variation.
Effective start/end date9/30/858/31/88


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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